Monday, March 18, 2013

Detwiler impresses, Solano plays LF

Associated Press
Ross Detwiler tossed four strong innings against the Tigers.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Nationals' 12-9 victory over the Tigers earlier today was a wild affair, with both teams exchanging blows most of the afternoon before the Nats finally prevailed thanks in large part to Tyler Moore's two home runs.

Aside from those blasts, though, the two most interesting developments of the day probably were Ross Detwiler's return to the mound for the first time since pitching in the World Baseball Classic and Jhonatan Solano's surprise appearance in left field for the eighth and ninth innings.

Let's start with Detwiler, who nine days after tossing four scoreless innings of relief for Team USA in a win over Italy picked up right where he left off. Getting the start against Detroit's fearsome lineup, the left-hander impressed over the course of four innings. His only mistake: a first-inning homer by Torii Hunter that cleared the berm beyond the left-field fence, though Detwiler insisted it wasn't a particularly bad pitch on his part, over the plate but down in the zone.

Regardless, Detwiler said he definitely took something out of this start, not necessarily a typical Grapefruit League outing considering the quality of the opposition.

"That's a ridiculous lineup," he said. "I mean, you've got to focus on keeping the ball down or you're going to have to throw with an 'L screen' out there [to avoid getting smoked by comebackers]."

Detwiler threw only 57 pitches and said he felt like he had plenty left in the tank after four innings, but pitching coach Steve McCatty didn't want to take any chances after the long layoff, so the left-hander instead went to the bullpen and threw an additional 15 pitches before calling it a day.

He also insisted he didn't approach this exhibition game any differently than he approached his competitive game in the WBC last weekend.

"I don't think it was that different," he said. "I kind of had the same mentality: just to go out there and throw strikes and get ahead. That's something I want to focus on this year."

Detwiler had long since departed by the time the eighth inning rolled around and a surprise figure took over in left field. Yes, that was indeed Solano shifting from catcher to left field for the final frame.

How did that happen? Well, Micah Owings (who had been in left field all day) has been dealing with a tight quadriceps, so Davey Johnson didn't want to risk it getting any worse. Except the only player he had left on his bench was Carlos Maldonado, also a catcher (who doesn't really strike me as the type who could handle the outfield).

So Johnson asked Solano if he could play left field. Solano -- who later admitted he'd never spent a single inning in the outfield in his life, not even as a child -- insisted to his manager he could. So he grabbed Moore's glove and took his position out there.

"I see the opportunity to enjoy another position," he said. "Why not?"

Sure enough, though, the ball quickly found Solano. It was a routine flyball -- well, routine for anyone who'd ever played the outfield before -- but he handled it like a vet even though his innards were doing somersaults.

"The first fly ball I said: 'Oh my God. It's coming to me!'" Solano recalled with a laugh.

The man affectionately known to teammates as "The Onion" really got a workout in the ninth inning, with four balls hit in his direction, two of them flyouts.

Johnson didn't seem to understand what the fuss was all about.

"If I can put Brian McCann out there in the World Baseball Cup, I can put Solano out there in spring training game!" the manager quipped.

Don't look for Solano to start getting regular playing time in the outfield. But he certainly soaked in the experience on this day.

"Wow, it's not too easy," he said. "But I enjoyed it so much."

(Note: I'm leaving Nats camp on Monday for a family matter, but Chase Hughes will keep you up to date on any developments. I'll be back in Viera on Tuesday.)


MurrayTheRed said...

I heard he story once about why he is called the Onion, something about a ride in a vegetable truck. Don't remember any more. Does anyone have the details?

Steady Eddie said...

Murray -- it was a ride he and his brother got to a tryout in Venezuela. (Because there were few scouts who went to Colombia, where the Solano family lived.)

Steady Eddie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sjm308 said...

Davey has to love his attitude. How great to hear about players using other players gloves, sort of like little league.

Rabbit - you were a little more positive in that last post. Keep it up!!

Love hearing from anyone in FLA about their experiences. Food, drink, baseball - keep it coming. Calling for snow here today.

Go Nats!!

Doc said...

It would be fun to see some video of Solano working LF.

The Nats are probably still having some fun with Solano, a day later!

MicheleS said...

So enjoyed Lakeland yesterday.. Was talking to a lots of Tigers fans. They really do like Kobernus said he seems like he will make the team. They also need the IF backup. They don't have much depth there and their regular shortstop (Peralta???) doesn't have much range but is decent in the field, so he may have a shot at some playing time as a defensive replacement.

Det looked really good. He was snapping off some breaking pitches that the crowd behind home plate was oooing and ahhing. Perry, blech. Ryan Matheus was having some issues - mainly with the Umps strike zone, he settled in but whoever the home plate ump was we need to watch out for during the season. he seemed to want to be involved in the game (got in a chirpping match with Cabrera too).

When the Onion went to LF, I was like HUH?????? Sure enough the ball found him as soon as he got out there. He did pretty good. He also looks like a 10 year old out there next to the rest of the guys. He's is scrappy though.

Lakeland, nice facility overall. Easy to find off the I-4. Lots of Nats fans were there yesterday. Just glad I wasn't the only one wearing Red or the Curly W there.

As soon as I figure out how to work my new camera, I am going to try to post pictures on Twitter or Instagram. Got some really good ones.

natsfan1a said...

Atta way, Onion! Hope that your family matter is nothing serious, Mark. Last but not least, thanks for the report, Michele.

p.s. for sjm, NatsNut gave a good pep talk in my absence last night. :-) Hope that either your rep or someone here will be able to talk you through the process. I do have a account but am not a STH and don't have experience with that ticketing system.

SonnyG10 said...

I feel disappointed the Tigers may want to keep Kobernus; but then I think "what would we do with him except keep him in the minors?"

SonnyG10 said...

MicheleS, were the Tiger fans friendly towards the Nats fans?

NCNatsie said...

Just a reminder to everyone that this Sunday is the recording of “Let’s All Cheer for the Washington Nats” song at DUFFY’S IRISH PUB, 2106 VERMONT AVE, NW, on from 1 – 3:30 PM .

As previously announced, the Nats Insiders Chorus will lead us in a rousing, joyous rendition of the Nats fight song written by Yours Truly and arranged by Waddu Eye No.

All Insiders are invited to attend and/or participate. You can get more details , by emailing -- a special address Waddu has set up for the project. If you want a copy of the sheet music, he’ll be happy to send it to you. RSVP’s would be very helpful so we can give Duffy a sense of how many folks we’re expecting..

If nothing else, there’ll be great fun, a chance to meet cyberfriends and other Nats fans, and Duffy’s great food and cold beer for sale.

Joe Seamhead said...

This is our last full day down here. It's been a terrific week.Everybody, and everything at Space Coast Stadium is just as small town friendly as you could possibly imagine. We stayed over in Cocoa Beach in a beachfront hotel, enjoyed perfect sunrises everyday except for this morning, which had a little cloud cover,but it was still great! It takes less then a half hour to get to the park from here. As far as the stadium is concerned, it's much more imitate then the Frederick Keys park, more like something between the Keys and the Big Train in Bethesda.
As to a few observations of on the field play: Spring Training really is a different animal, both for the players and the fans. The veterans don't get too emotional about the good, or the bad. They take it for what it is, i.e. a workout. Well, except for Harper. As for the minor league guys, I think that this camp is unique in that the 25 man roster is pretty much set, and everybody knows it. Unless the totally unexpected happens, Solano, Leon, Brown, Walters, Rivera, Marrero, Owings, etc. have no shot. All they can do is try to keep making a good impression and to be ready if the opportunity presents itself for them.
Chris Young and Chris Snyder both could probably be on somebody else's 25 man and it wouldn't surprise me if either, or both, of them moved on. When Young is on the mound it sure doesn't look like home plate is 60 feet away! Man, that's a tall dude.
H-Rod looks good! I'm impressed that he doesn't seem to be over-throwing. Storen seems a little uneasy, but I wouldn't get too worked up over at this point.
I still think that virtually every team is going to exploit the Nats inability to hold runners. Stamman and Drew don't even seem to try. Last September when Chase Utley, bum knees and all, stole 2nd and 3rd in the same inning, it really exposed how bad we are. Other then Strasburg, I haven't seen where there has been much effort, though their pre-game practices aren't open for us to watch. Maybe they really are working on it and are just setting up everybody for the regular season.
NatsJack and his buddy Gator have gone out of there way to make Mrs. Seamhead and me have a great time at the park. I think every beer vendor in the park is quite familiar with them.Seriously, they're a couple of characters, and truly good guys.

NatsJack in Florida said...

My experience that Tiger fans are usually very cordial along with Cardinal fans.

And now that the Mets stink; their remaining fans are real and knowledgeable and cordial, as well.

It's the bandwaggoners that tend to be obnoxious.

At a game a couple of weeks ago, two 30 something guys that claimed to be die-hard Nat fans asked me where that catcher Suziuki came from. Didn't know anything about how he got to the Nats.

Had another guy ask me why Morse hadn't been playing.

The more the Nats win, expect some obnoxiousness rear it's ugly head.

baseballswami said...

2 weeks from opening day and it's snowy and cold. Hard to believe. I am excited to be able to actually watch the games. I am not paying a dime to listen to the other team's radio feed for a few ST games. I sincerely hope that as the Nats get to be more and more of a powerhouse, more and more games are covered! By the way, is our TV situation EVER going to be addressed?

SonnyG10 said...

That's a good report Joe S. Thanks for the detail. Also, MicheleS, yours was a good detailed report; thanks for that.

SonnyG10 said...

NatsJack, thanks for the report on the fans of other teams. I really enjoy it when the fans of other teams are friendly and cordial. I wished all fans would be that way.

NatsJim said...

Agree Swami, MASN's ST coverage has been terrible - it really makes you wonder what they're thinking given their primary reason for existing is baseball. If the Nats aren't on, I'm not watching that channel - seems they should know that and give me as many reasons to watch as possible. And to have the crew go down and only do one game a week is even more maddening - at least give us all the weekend games once you're down there MASN!

NatsJim said...

As an aside, after watching the Cardinals broadcast of the Nats game on Thursday I just want to say how thankful I am that we have FP doing the color commentary - The Mad Hungarian provided absolutely no value to that broadcast (truly terrible, in fact), whereas I have learned quite a bit from FP.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

NCNatsie, are you sure that address is right? G.F.Y.N.G. would mean something else entirely,

baseballswami said...

Agreed- although I despise MASN ( my very first user name on this blog was masn stinks) , I do appreciate their employees. I don't get why they show duplicate ESPN coverage when there are many of us that would have enjoyed watching all 98 wins over again. Very few Nats Classics were on. I really like FP and I think Bob has been at his best with him as a partner. Johnny and Ray? Fine. Ray just celebrates his Davey crush and talks about his glory days, Johnny is Ed McMahon, a sidekick to reflect off of, but a good enough guy. They are fine for what they do. I seethe during the O's joint coverage. No other teams would put up with that.

sjm308 said...

While I am not happy about the MASN coverage, I do understand who owns that and can only hope it changes soon. My gripe is with radio. #1, I love listening to games on the radio and actually prefer it to TV. Just a holdover from way back when we did not have a tv growing up and yes, I was one of those kids with that newfangled thing called a transistor radio that I would sneak into bed. I just don't understand how expensive it would be to air all of our spring training games. I mean, what shows are you interrupting besides talking heads yapping about the redskins, caps or bullets? OK, gripe over but it is ridiculous not to have better coverage. I wonder if we win the World Series if that would change??

Next, and no one except perhaps Natsfan1a will appreciate this but I got my Red Curly W Box with my two cards and actually was able to 1. log-in and 2. register!! This is huge for me. Now, I have not even tried to transfer the other card to my son. I will wait for him to come over and let him do this. I also have not tried to exchange or move games and I figure my rep can talk me through that. I pity those with 3 or more partners, it looks like it might not be that easy.

Go Nats!! and thanks for all those updates from FLA to MicheleS, Seamhead and of course Natsjack

NCNatsie said...

Good catch , Sofa. Of course, it's My apologies for my fat fingers and incompetent proofreading.

Go You Flippin' Nats Go! Pretty Flippin' Bueno!
(at Gmail dot com). Or something like that.

natsfan1a said...

Atta way, sjm! :-)

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"I feel disappointed the Tigers may want to keep Kobernus; but then I think "what would we do with him except keep him in the minors?""

Detroit is the defending AL champion, and they took a guy who had little to no chance of making it with the Nats. That kind of puts in perspective just how deep and how good the 2013 Nats really are.

Kobernus has speed to burn, but no power. We've already got Espinoza, Lombo and, IMO, will soon have Rendon on our depth chart at 2nd base. Kobernus is much better off in Detroit.

MicheleS said...

The Tigers Fans were great to me. Sat right behind home plate with a group of season ticket holders and they asked a lot of questions about the Nats (and of course Stras shutdown - OY).

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